I’m trying to make the phrase international. If “chuck a sickie” means to pretend to be sick to get out of work, then “chuck a snowie” is the skiing equivalent. Now, I may not be rich enough to actually skip work, but I have been doing the “snowie” part on my days off. It’s ski season and I’m thrilled. D’mitry has more hiking experience than skiing and so he too was extatic about my snow day antics. Although I missed a season and haven’t skied in actual powder snow for years, I’ve been having the time of my life and not caring that I can’t really walk after a full day on the mountain. Literally, after the first day I drove home and proceeded to fall over as I exited the car.
Thanks to some heroes from back home, I also have some natural gummy dinosaurs that have graced my backpack as a ski snack. D’mitry made friends with a pink gummy T-rex but, considering he was just a badass shaped blob, D’mitry wasn’t too upset when I ate his new friend.
One time, D’mitry bonded with my friend’s fish, Dawg. They were buddies. Dawg was a great little fish who enjoyed the simple things in life like swimming and inspiring greatness in young people. He was an unofficial mascot of all things fantastic and unfortunately he has gone to the great toilet bowl after his untimely death. RIP Dawg ❤ We miss you.
As opposed to big hiking. Where I come from, “hiking” means strapping on a pack and heading into the wilderness for a few days, practically being a nomad. I’ve spent many happy days disappearing into the mountains or along the coast with somewhere between 15-20kg on my back and a different campsite every night. In Canada, hiking means anything from the multiple day nomadic adventure I’ve experienced to a casual stroll through the forest. Yesterday, D’mitry and I did what I have dubbed little hiking. There was a mountain with a noodle factory of paths winding up it, so we climbed it. No pack, no campsite, just a few hours of little hiking. It was definitely more than a walk, just not quite as much of a hike as I’m accustomed to, hence little hiking. It’s going to be a thing, trust me. We had a fantastic time disconnecting from the world and reconnecting with trees, which hasn’t happened for a few weeks. Trees and mountains are ranked alongside dinosaurs in my favourite things so I feel pretty content with everything and D’mitry is always up for an adventure. Unfortunately no dinosaur photos, although get excited for some quality shots as we have a new photo taking device! It’s similar to the old one, just a few different functions. Bear with us as we figure it out and D’mitry analyses which camera angles flatter him the most.
I hate to break it to you, but the bear D’mitry saw wasn’t actually a bear. It was just a gummy bear. However, I saw a real bear last week, it had claws and everything. It sitting in a tree happily munching apples while I stood and stared at it for a solid fifteen minutes. I also learned something: bears can climb a lot higher than I thought. My flawless escape plan if I ever got chased by a bear of climbing a tree faster than the bear now seems somewhat less flawless. Nothing crushes your sense of self-preservation like watching a bear five metres up a tree and realising just how wrong you were. And the whole time he just chomped away at apples like nothing was up.
Also bears are fat and waddle when they walk. It’s mildly amusing.
It’s exactly what it sounds like plus a few other awesome things. It all started as a hike up a deceptively steep mountain trail late at night. There is something about hiking 8km at 9.30pm that makes you both hate and love life at the same time. It’s a lot of fun, provided it was a planned experience, but a large part of you just wants to get to camp. It’s an experience I highly recommend for any avid hiker at least once in your life. If night hiking is unplanned, however, it sucks. Thankfully, this time it was the former. While I was dragging myself uphill at a cracking pace in the light of my head torch, D’mitry was snug in my backpack as usual, getting as much rest as possible before an intense day of the finest dinosaur adventure photography known to Canada’s expat community.
Upon morning there was more uphill climbing, this time even steeper as we scrambled over rocks and glaciers to the most stunning ridge I might have ever seen. Jagged snowcapped mountains and glacial lakes the colour of blue Gatorade. Personally I’m not into isotonic drinks but these lakes were a comparable shade of blue. All that scenery was fantastic but the real highlight of my day was sliding down a glacier. What began as boot skiing with my incredible talent and sense of balance became a controlled slide on my bum towards the end of my glacial experience. Having fallen off my feet around ten metres before the end of my slide I decided to just keep going, using my feet and hands to control my speed and direction. The result was numb hands/bum, wet shorts and mysterious cuts on my knees. I’m not sure how, though. My knees weren’t involved at all. Glacial water is also brisk and refreshing, as one would expect.
My final discovery of the trip was the meaning of inukshuks. I knew a cairne was a pile of rocks meant as a navigational marker to fellow hikers but I failed to grasp the difference between that and an inukshuk. According to local intel, the purpose of an inukshuk is “because Canadians like piling rocks”. Seems legit. D’mitry approves.
Remember those times when I kept using wrestling bears as an analogy for being awesome? Well I found a D’mitry-sized Canadian bear and it posed with him in the forest because that’s where bears and dinosaurs belong, right? But seriously, it was a fantastic hike and a super awesome waterfall. I climbed up the little pools to the start of the waterfall, out of sight from my friends. They followed me a few minutes later to find me already standing inside the top pool, right next to the spray from the waterfall. I highly recommend splashing about in mountain runoff. In a word, it’s brisk.
Remember how I first found D’mitry? All sad and alone in that mud puddle? I experienced something similar last week. I stepped out of a car into what I thought was solid dried mud. It was in fact ankle-deep sludge mud. One uncomfortable 20 or so metres later, however, I was ankle-deep in awesome lake. The best thing about lakes with mountain backdrops is that they make the greatest locations for dinosaur action shots. D’mitry spent the afternoon soaking up the good life in the sunshine. I spent the afternoon trying to wash mud out of my toes.
Visiting lakes is fun. Visiting lakes that are surrounded by amazing mountains and climbable rocks and steep roads is more fun. Also we found a sign that politely asked us not to drown. Canada. D’mitry was soaking up some sunshine on one of the awesome rocks because skin cancer doesn’t affect you when you are made of plastic. But seriously, slip slop slap. Be sunsmart.